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NAKED BENEATH THE WATER...or "My Two Year Birth!" PDF Print E-mail
Written by By Sean Cain, with assistance by Chris Irvine   
Nov 20, 2004 at 07:00 PM
"She tied me up, shaved my body, drown me in the tub, but when it came time to stab someone with a knife, she just couldn't do it. She had a fear of knives she told me. Just picking one up was too much. I ranted, I raved, I cajoled, I begged - thank god this was her last day."
Such as it was, the parting between an actress and I. My thoughts were largely: "It's almost over. Just hang in there". If I had only known what I did two years prior, I may have not even picked up a camera... ever. But now my baby is healthy, and it's over.

...time to reminisce.
PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE is the highest rated show in the world. Unlike a sitcom, however, P.E. it's T.V. at its most realistic. Contestants compete by sending in their home movies. But we're not talking AMERICA'S FUNNIEST HOME VIDEO'S here. Instead, the subject matter is murder, and the individual who comes up with the most violent means of diaposal earns the title of PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE OF THE YEAR. The viewing public gets to rack up 'watchdog diploma' points by searching for clues to help law enforcement officials track these killers down.
Robert Svanslos has been missing for a month, and his brother, Pelle, is very worried. One night Pelle is laying in bed when he receives a frantic call from his mother. Turning the T.V. on, Pelle sees the fuzzy images of someone who looks like Robert, being murdered in a place that looks a lot like Robert's apartment...
Not knowing what else to do, Pelle moves into Robert's apartment to see if anything will turn up. During this time, nothing seems normal anymore -- he's harassed by the foul tempered manager who listens to opera all day; he's taunted by a young boy's tales of seeing perverts in Robert's apartment; he has visions of his brother's return; but most of all, he's intrigued by Max - the man living in the apartment directly above Robert's - who's having a little water problem...
The water drips from Robert's ceiling constantly. Laying in bed, Pelle is kept up all night by the ping, ping, ping of drops hitting plastic buckets. Is Max just taking too many baths with his 20-something year old wife -- and possible his daughter -- or what? Somebody's up to something, and before long, it's going to be time to get naked. . .naked beneath the water.
Of course, watching the final finished story is the fun part. What you don't see or know are the stories it took to try and bring NAKED BENEATH THE WATER to the small screen.
It's funny how people turn out...
The young lady who refused to hold a knife was probably the worst actress I could have gotten, but being as mentally deranged as she was kind of made up for lack of skill.
Nice guys made into evil, mean killers.
Others getting too scared to continue in their role.
Another of the actresses wouldn't do certain scenes, and the whole story was rearranged so we could continue.
I remember being at the apartment set all by myself and talking to her on the phone. She wouldn't even come over so we could talk about how we could change the scene to make her more comfortable. Maybe this was wrong, but I threw the phone down, and smashed it into a million pieces.
It was a minute later that the realization dawned on me this was the only phone, and now how was I suppose to warn everyone else the shooting was to change? At fifteen minutes to seven I hopped into my car, and tried to find a Radio Shack. I was driving in San Francisco's Mission district, which is very hard to find a parking place, with only a vague notion there was a Radio Shack on 24th street. It was only by luck I shimmied through the door with five minutes to spare to grab a cheap $20 phone, and hustle back.
As all things, this event worked out for the best. Originally I wanted the story to revolve around a young man being drawn to this apartment only to find these 'water creatures' living upstairs. They would sleep in bathtubs like coffins, and were so paranoid about anyone finding out about them, that they grab the guy at the end, and turn him into one of them so he couldn't go to the government, or something like that. It was going to be very erotic, but with the actress putting a monkey wrench into my plans, I somehow turned it into a more violent film. It even came out kind of funny... in a dark sense.
Personally, I feel the best part of making movies is in the shaping, and molding of them. The telephone incident led me down a whole different path. I never knew what was going to happen next. Scenes already shot for the 'water creatures' somehow worked perfectly into the new script. I kept on trucking.
And in the end, I delivered a project I am quite proud of...
Like it or not, it's little guys/gals like us who are revolutionizing how films are made. Independent films are on the rise, and with 5 millions satellite dish channels coming up, there's going to be a greater need for entertainment. No matter who might say what, don't give up.
(I'd just like to thank Jim Wright, Ric Teran, Victoria Cowen, Serge Fedorov, and Brian Hurst for pulling me through the fire.)

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